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Governor Roy Barnes Speaks at 2006 Barbara Payne Lecture in Gerontology


February 16, 2006

Governor Roy Barnes described to the Barbara Payne Lectureship audience the transition he made from his job as Governor of the State of Georgia to volunteer worker at Atlanta Legal Aid---from a huge, luxurious office at the state capitol to a tiny, borrowed, barely furnished, below-ground office not far away. He used the 6 months he spent doing volunteer work with clients at Legal Aid as a time to help those who need legal representation and also to gain perspective for what he wanted to do with the next years of his life. The combination of aging and "forced retirement" gives one a different perspective on what is important in life, Roy Barnes admitted to those who attended the annual event.

The Governor had many "stories to tell" about his experiences at Atlanta Legal Aid that helped him make his decision to move back to the square in Marietta and set up The Barnes Law Group, a small independent law firm, rather than accept one of the many invitations he had from large corporate-type law practices. He expressed the importance of family and practices that lessen the stress on parents who work outside the home. A full-time nanny provides on-site child care for employees in the firm (two are his daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children) often staying until "they return from a late court appointment."

Barnes graciously fielded many questions from an audience who was interested in his continued involvement in Georgia and national politics, in his assessment of Georgia teachers' salaries, and any future intentions to run for his former job as Governor. In appreciation of his participation in the Barbara Payne Lectureship event, Dr. Sharon King presented the former Governor with a picture of goats that will be given to grandparents in Kenya, Africa who are raising their grandchildren because their children have died with AIDS. (See related story Goats for Grandparents) Governor Barnes has recently visited Kenya and expressed his delight with such a useful and meaningful gift.